This blog is a love letter — to the communities that I belong to and serve as a designer whose practice is grounded in social justice movements, as well as to other designers and the design industry.
Based on zero experience, here are what I understand to be the three key ingredients to an effective love letter writing project:
1. Telling you about how awesome you are and how even more awesome we are together.
Design is a world-building undertaking — we imagine and make things that didn’t exist before. Design for justice is about building a world that we actually want to live in, and we do that as much through our processes as our products. When communities take control of their stories and representations and designers provide contexts and tools for that to happen, it’s magic. I’ve seen what we can do together.
2. Obsessing over the details of every interaction we have.
I think about you all the time. I want to reveal here the many conceptual, aesthetic, and philosophical deliberations that go into a project and how they steer the process. I want to expose my missteps and what I’ve learned from them. And I want you to know that you’re a lot of work — not just creative and physical, but also emotional.
3. Getting mad about how irritating you can be sometimes.
Just what the hell do we mean when we talk about “design for good?” We’re in serious need of some discoursing around this, because it’s a phrase that basically means nothing right now. Is it “good” when structures that harm people are passively supported through charity work that doesn’t challenge the status quo? Is it “good” when the project reaches more of our peers through press and awards than the people it is intended to serve? How about when the work is actively harmful? I know we can do better.
I hope you’ll write back from time to time.
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